A kinder, gentler, gender-neutral state

Feb. 4, 2013

By Katy Grimes


Have you noticed the press releases from legislators at the state Capitol are all gender-neutral? Lawmakers and staff refer to each other as “Assembly members,” and not “Assemblywoman” or “Assemblyman.”

And even more ridiculously, the don’t refer to a Committee head as a “Chairwoman” or “Chairman;” they call each other “Chair.”

Washington state is taking this gender-neutral form of speaking to a new level. “In Washington state, dairymen, freshmen and even penmanship could soon be things of the past,” Fox News reported.

Attempts to fix language are misguided to the point of absurdity. Remember “huperson,” “woperson,” “personslaughter” and “personhole” covers?

Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin became the butt of jokes for her attempt to rename manhole covers, “personhole” covers.

New lingo

Washington state officials have spent the last six years changing language in the law books of the state, as the AP photo above shows. But gender-neutral language is ungrammatical, and not allowed in AP Style. 

“So while the state has already welcomed ‘firefighters,’ ‘clergy’ and ‘police officers’ into its lexicon, ‘ombuds’ (in place of ombudsman) and ‘security guards’ (previously ‘watchmen,’) appear to be next, along with ‘dairy farmers,’ ‘first-year students’ and ‘handwriting,’ Fox reported.

The feminists have finally won — they have eraced “men” even from the law books.

“But language matters. It’s how we signal a level of respect for each other,” Seattle Councilmember Sally Clark said.

What’s wrong with calling Clark a “Councilwoman?”

“Clark and former councilmember Jan Drago — the Seattle City Council has long eschewed the terms councilwoman or councilman — brought the issue to Sen. Jeannie Kohl-Welles in 2006 after they came across references to firemen and policemen in the mayor’s proposed budget, as well as in state law dealing with local-government pensions.”

“I don’t see the need to do gender neutrality,” Republican state Rep. Shelly Short said, adding that her constituents want her to focus on jobs and the economy. “We’re women and we’re men.”

Even more disturbing, is how much taxpayer money has been spent on this absurd project. Kyle Thiessen, the state’s code reviser, has been working on the project along with two attorneys since 2008. I wonder how many support staff are dedicated to this ridiculous project.

Exactly how will this help Washington’s economy, debt, standard of living, or job creation?

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